Modular handrails offer more than just safety in the workplace.
Railings enhance the design of our decks and porches. They also serve as a perfect spot to hang lights and flower beds. People like to lean on them because they are strong, sturdy, and aptly sized.
A railing’s primary purpose is to provide safety. We reach for a railing when we lose our balance or suffer from muscle weakness. These railings provide the stability that is essential for guiding people to remain on a particular path, the elderly, young children, and people with disabilities. That is why it is crucial to choose the best handrail design to install in your home, office, or workplace.
What is a modular handrail system?
There are three ways to perform railing construction. They are:
- Production from scratch
- Production utilising a modular handrail system
- Production utilising prefabricated posts and accessories such as tubes and fittings designed to connect with the handrail.
A modular handrail system is composed of a cap rail and mating tube or rod fittings designed to connect with another tube or cap rail. The parts join together with an adhesive or welding.
Modular handrail system offers several benefits over the welding system.
The modular handrail system is considered the best in the market. It was designed to function in many scenarios, and its components can meet the most demanding applications. Here are several reasons why a modular handrail could be ideal for your project:
1. A modular handrail is easy to install and assemble.
A well-designed modular handrail is quite easy to install. You need to have an adaptable system that adjusts to whatever the situation is at the site.
A railing has three basic parts, and being knowledgeable about these parts helps in knowing why modular handrails are easier to install.
Posts are the vertical structures that hold the railing up. These are attached at the base to the stairs or floor. Sometimes the posts that hold up the deck’s surface are the same ones that hold up deck railings.
Rails run parallel and horizontal between each post. They support the balusters, spindles, or other infill that run between them.
The infill is the material that runs between the rails, and it is generally in the form of closely spaced dowels, rods, or square or round tubing called spindles or balusters.
Other materials used as infill include stainless steel cable, glass, wire mesh, plywood, and lattices. The infill is mostly responsible for keeping the railing stable so that pets or people will not squeeze through. It is also the most prominent part of the railing.
The three pieces mentioned above are welded together in custom railings, which is usually done on-site. Note that this can cause damage to your property, such as burned flooring, due to sparks.
The posts, rails, and, infill can be firmly connected with grub-screws in modular handrails, so you no longer need to weld the connections.
They easily bolt together, which means you do not have to go through the hassle of getting permits for welding activities.
Some modular handrails are already pre-assembled, making them easier to deliver as compared to fully fabricated products. They are also faster to assemble.
Understandably, not everyone who wants to have a safety barrier can produce comprehensive technical drawings or layout. Using a modular handrail removes the need for this. You can tweak or adjust the parts during installation.
2. A modular handrail complies with Australian standards.
The AS/NZ 1657 standard specifies how the design, construction, and installation of handrails in Australia and New Zealand should be implemented. Compliance with AS/NZ 1657 indicates that the system does not pose safety risks in terms of design or manufacture.
- A modular handrail system is checked to ensure that it meets the AS/NZ 1657 standards at every step. Manufacturers rigorously test every component to check for performance and strength. They also provide proper documentation to confirm this.
- Manufacturers check that pipes, stanchions, and links used are on par with structural grade steel. This means that they can tolerate heavy loads and are reliable enough to be used for critical safety applications.
- All links have a 7mm hole on the end of each piece for additional security. Sometimes an indicator plug comes with the grub screws in the system. They permit the maintenance staff or installers to check the installed rails for any signs of movement in the screws. It is the fastest way to know if any parts need tightening without needing to test all single connections in the system.
- Safety regulations mandate that the railings must be able to resist a particular amount of force applied from the side. This is why posts are normally positioned no more than 6 feet apart.
- Railings should be at least 36 inches in height for residential structures and 42 inches in height for commercial or multi-family structures. Modular railings are built to comply with the regulation in terms of height, strength, and spacing. It takes away a lot of stress for contractors, homeowners, and installers.
3. A modular handrail is suitable for a big range of applications.
This type of handrail is quite versatile. Safety barriers, balustrades, and walkways are built on platforms, walkways, mezzanines, and stairs regardless of layout. The parts can be configured in several ways.
It is possible to have pre-assembled stanchions that lead to a faster installation process. Stanchions have a wide range of configurations. There are also many options for base plate types.
All components are galvanised, and these can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications without needing regular maintenance. They are built to last.
4. A modular handrail is resistant to corrosion and chemicals.
The design of modular handrails makes them resistant to corrosion and chemical damage. Some manufacturers utilise a hot-dip galvanised technology called Gatorshield technology.
Gatorshielding the pipes involves hot-dip galvanising the interior coating. This ensures the maximum corrosion protection on the coating and fittings that connect the pipes.
The quality and type of coatings used for modular handrails makes a massive difference for their durability. For one, coatings manufactured under controlled conditions bond better to metal. Prevention of corrosion is more effective compared to the best brand of paint for metal railings.
5. A modular handrail has a continuous length.
A traditional welded railing system has many limitations. One of these is the length of the pipe that can be produced before needing to weld it to an adjoining pipe. The average length of a galvanised pipe is around one metre. The pipe needs to be spliced using welding techniques.
The area where splicing happens is where you will see coating damage. It is also the area where rust begins. A modular handrail system has an infinite and continuous length.
6. A modular handrail is a practical alternative to welded handrails.
Welded systems usually have a cheaper cost in terms of upfront price. But a modular handrail can help customers save 20-30% of overall cost. The savings occur when you take into consideration the labour and cost needed to engineer, design, handle, weld, transport, install, and maintain a welded railing system.
A welded railing lasts an average of 2 to 4 years before you need to apply another cold galvanising solution. This is to fix the exposed rust that will set in wherever damage was incurred during the welding process or wear and tear.
Modular railing systems can last for up to 20 years. If there is any damage to parts of the railing structure, those parts can be replaced. You will save more money in terms of maintenance with a modular handrail.
Modular handrails are also more practical since it is possible to reconfigure and reuse railings and fittings. Welded railings only have scrap value.
7. A modular handrail has a UV-resistant contrast colour.
Choosing the right type of materials to use for handrails is extremely important, especially if they will be exposed to outdoor conditions. Natural elements such as snow, moisture, heat, and UV rays cause many materials to deteriorate. It is crucial to choose correctly, especially for a country that experiences sunny weather throughout the year.
Some manufacturers have their modular handrails UV tested to make sure that mechanical properties do not degrade over time.
8. A modular handrail is lightweight and easy to transport.
A modular handrail is more convenient in terms of shipping and handling. They can fit in pallets, boxes, and bundles. You can even take the elevator when transporting them in a building. Compare this to welded railings that can require special equipment such as a flatbed truck to transport them and cranes to lift them.
9. A modular handrail is safer.
You can use simple set screws and hand tools to connect parts of the modular handrail. It will not have sharp edges exposed because of the connectors used within the structure.
Unfortunately, welded systems are assembled by connecting metal pieces by way of welding, which creates the possibility of having sharp corners and weld slag. The sharp corners and weld slag can scratch and injure people who use the handrail.
Workers are also more protected with modular handrails. Their only concern is using tools like the drill and Allen wrench. Welded systems put them at risk because of the fumes, gases, fire, and electric shock that can be produced during construction.
How does a modular handrail compare to a traditional welded handrail system?
Modular handrail systems do not involve any welding, making them preferable to the traditional welded systems. Delivery and installation are easier since they are customised and the elements are produced off-site and put together on-site.
All you need is a battery-operated hand drill. You do not need to acquire the heavy tools and machinery that are vital for traditional welded systems. In this way, you will be able to save precious time and avoid expensive project delays. For example, you will no longer need to get hot tools licenses and develop toxic fume safety procedures.
A welded system looks smooth and has a good finish. However, it has downsides. You need to weld the handrail in the workshop then transport big sections to the site. Another option is to weld it on site. Both scenarios lead to issues of hot work and needing to do touch-ups. It decreases the level of protection given by the initial coating.
In terms of lead times, you can install a modular handrail within 24 hours if the components are in stock. Welded railings may take 4 to 6 weeks for design, fabrication, and coating.
A modular handrail should come from a trustworthy manufacturer.
Do not try to DIY a hand railing unless you are confident in your construction skills. You can put someone’s life in danger when they lean on that rail if it does not meet safety standards. Caution is also needed since not all modular handrails are manufactured to a high standard that meets compliance. There are brands out there that utilise basic coatings and meet only minimum safety codes.
Buy your new railings from a trusted manufacturer. Check the components of the railing, design, manufacturing process, company reviews, and warranty. Doing your research will go a long way.
Install Modular Handrail Systems with Verge Safety Barriers
Many people prefer using modular handrails because they can be customised to suit different types of projects. They are useful for walkways, stairways, and pedestrian barriers in both industrial and commercial settings.
Verge Safety Barriers develops high-quality products to ensure a safe working environment. Our years of experience in the industry allows us to provide our clients with a wide range of robust safety products. To include modular handrails in your project, contact us at 1800 765 539. We produce results that are second to none. Call us today!